A Guide to Hearing Aid Types

If your audiologist has recommended hearing aids to supplement your hearing loss, it can seem overwhelming to pick out the right type for you and your lifestyle. Although your audiologist can guide you to the right option, it’s important to know what options are available. Here’s a quick guide to the type of hearing aid that will fit you best.

How do Hearing Aids Work?

It’s important to note that hearing aids will not cure hearing loss. At a very basic level, they amplify sounds, allowing you to hear the sounds you weren’t able to pick up before. But hearing aids are more than just amplifiers. Hearing aids use sophisticated digital technology that have the ability to listen to the world around you, convert the sounds to make them audible and comfortable to you, and transmit the sounds effectively to the brain.

Different Styles of Hearing Aids

It can be very confusing looking at the many different types of hearing aids. They can vary in size, special features, how they are worn, and cost. Here are some of the most common styles you’ll see and how they can benefit you.

IIC, Invisible-in-the-canal and CIC, or Completely-in-the-canal

These types of hearing aid will be specifically molded to fit deep inside the ear canal. They are the smallest type of hearing aids available at the moment. However, the smaller batteries will have a shorter life, and this type doesn’t usually come with any additional features. While these types of hearing aids might be cosmetically appealing, they are not appropriate for all degrees of hearing loss.

ITC, or In-the-canal and ITE, or In-the-ear

These styles of hearing aids will also be custom molded and will fit partially in the ear canal. They are more visible than the IIC or CIC styles and usually have larger batteries. ITC and ITE hearing aids might be suitable for you if you have difficulty manipulating smaller objects. 

BTE, or Behind-the-ear

A behind-the-ear hearing aid will hook over the very top of your ear while also resting behind it. A tube then connects to a piece called a custom earmold which fits right inside the ear canal. A person with any type of hearing loss can use a behind-the-ear hearing aid but it is usually best suited for children with hearing loss, those with severe-to-profound hearing loss, or individuals who might have difficulty manipulating smaller objects.

RIC, or Receiver-in-canal

This option is the most popular type of hearing aid and is worn by more than 80% of hearing aid users. The receiver-in-canal aid is similar in design to the behind-the-ear style, but is usually much smaller. With RIC hearing aids, the speaker or receiver fits in the ear or canal with a tiny wire connecting to the small behind-the-ear component. It is less visible than most other hearing aid designs and contains important features such as directional microphones, Bluetooth, telecoil, and other wireless functions.. 

Consider the Institute for Hearing and Balance for All of Your Hearing Aid Needs

If you are considering being fitted for a hearing aid, our Doctors of Audiology can help. Our services include adult and pediatric hearing assessments, hearing aid fitting and care, earwax removal, tinnitus assessment and treatment, balance/ dizziness assessment, and more. Contact us for a free consultation today and be prepared to hear a world of difference!